A Faith from the Margins to the Web Bible Study for Pentecost 6, Year B
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Faith from the Margins to the Web Contributors: Ben and Paul
Ben opened the bible study with prayer. He listened closely to Paul’s reading of the Gospel lesson, following these stories of healing.
“So much faith” said Ben. “These people had faith. The woman took action, and the man, he had faith for his daughter. Sometimes we pray and just sit around, saying we’re waiting on God, but we forget that we can do something sometimes, that we can act on what our hopes are.”
Paul added, “Yeah, you have to apply yourself: faith plus action!”
Ben continued, “That lady, you know, she had been praying for years and she didn’t give up. That day, she thought it was time to reach out. She was drawn to Jesus.”
Paul noted, “She walked up to Jesus on faith, and touched Him. But, Jesus noticed her! It wasn’t just her sneaking around. She owned it, and claimed it, like it says, she immediately gave testimony, even when she was afraid.”
Ben said, “You know, this woman, it seems like faith was all that she had.”
Paul added, “If your faith is that strong, maybe that’s all it takes is just to reach out and touch. Jesus didn’t even talk to her or pray over her. She had a kind of strong and blind faith. Maybe that’s why he felt it, why he felt power drawn from him. It was the power of her faith. I have a hard time grasping that, what it would be like to have that kind of faith.”